Film Review by Andy Box
Infinitely Polar Bear
A manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don't make the overwhelming task any easier.
The ReviewWarm Polar Bear or Manic Gruffalo?
Maya Forbes (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days co writer) autobiographical debut film is a quirky comedy drama that dances lightly around the fringes of mental health and its impact on the family. Polar bear has some laugh out loud moments, a cute seventies sountrack, some questionable outfits but mostly it has a simple, easy to follow plot that is portrayed by four excellent performances by its protagonists.
The lightness created by the children’s relationship and interactions with their father are what makes this a watchable movie. The seriousness of a recovering manic depressive patient being a single parent is often understated as the film wishes to highlight a number of other seventies related issues without getting too heavy.
Gender politics, race, and upbringing are all touched upon (using humour) just enough to peak your interest but without detracting from the movies main thread. Cam having lunch with his parents and taking the girls to visit his grandma are just two of numerous golden moments in this pacy, well scripted emotionally sensitive film.
Ruffalo is strong in his depiction of a manic depressive (Cam Stuart) and if you enjoyed him in ‘Begin Again’ then you will love this performance. Charming, handsome yet manically depressed and often bonkers, he somehow manages to win you over as a lovable but tormented chain smoking (I was over this after twenty minutes) father. Ruffalo is mainly manic and a criticism of the film is that the extreme lows are short and there are not many of them.
J.J. Abrams (producer) favourite Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) plays Maggie Stuart. Her authentic portrayal of a wife who is forced to leave her kids to be able to put food on the table whilst being married to an aloof unstable, unpredictable man is better than good. Saldana has taken this opportunity with both hands and her performance and natural chemistry with Ruffalo make her a future leading lady in my eyes.
What completes this film are the performances from its two child actors Ashley Auferheide (Faith) and Imogene Wolodarsky (Amelia). In short, the girls are realistic as a couple of regular kids that cope amazingly with single parenting, moving house, changing schools, their peers and a father that despite his infinite love is a little kooky. That Imogene is the directors actual daughter also adds another layer to this oh so full story.
You certainly will not be disappointed by this lighthearted and fuzzy flick that has a little something for everyone.
Releases: 26th March 2015
Rating: M – Contains offensive language
Duration: 88 minutes
Starring: Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo, Keir Dullea, Wally Wolodarsky, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide
Director: Maya Forbes (Debut Feature Film)
Both Zoe Saldana and Mark Rufallo have portrayed Marvel Comics characters. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/ the Hulk in The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Avengers: Age of Ultron and Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy.